Monet-Goyon Motorcycles

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Monet-Goyon History

In 1916 Joseph Monet (engineer) and Adrien GOYON (from a wealthy family in Mâcon) began a venture to manufacture pedal-powered vehicles for the disabled veterans of the ongoing war.

Monet & Goyon was formed on April 2, 1917, with their first product named the Vélocimane. This was soon followed by their first engine, the "Autowheel" or "Auto-roue", manufactured under licence from the English firm Wall. The firm's aim was to supply mobility to those in need at an affordable price. The engine was used to power their Automouche tricycles, and the Vélauto.

In 1922, Monet & Goyon began building Villiers engines under license and this engine was fitted to all existing models. Two years later their first sports machine was presented, the 175cc "ZS". This was followed by the 1925 "Brooklands TT". The bright red machine proceeded to sweep all before it in competition winning numerous laurels in France and taking 20 world records.

That same year the first four-strokes appeared, powered by MAG engines, and these too were built in France under licence. The first of these were 350cc IOV and OHV models, the MC and MCS.

Joseph Monet died of tuberculosis in 1926, and his role was filled by his brother Marcel.

New engines from MAG appeared in 500cc models MC5 and MC5S in 1927, and in 1929 belt-drive models were finally phased out and the first of the saddle tanks appeared. A 250cc IOV model was added to the range.

The industry was struggling with the effects of the depression, with many firms closing their doors. Koehler Escoffier of Lyon was struggling, and was absorbed by Monet-Goyon. This proved a huge bonus for the company as the Lyon firm had a range of OHC machines which had gleaned much success in competition. Additionally, Monet-Goyon were instrumental in persuading Clément-Bayard to obtain a license from Sturmey-Archer to produce gearboxes in France at their Charleville-Mezierres plant under the brand name "La Macérienne". [1] As the racing authorities had seen fit to admit only motorcycles with 100% French content since 1928, this allowed Monet-Goyon to return to the fray.

The Villiers-powered "ZS" continued to shine, and these models, along with a variety of others, were also offered under the KE brand. New racing models were introduced with Rudge Python 500cc engines.

In 1931 a new sidevalve model was introduced, the unit-construction 350cc "Monet-Goyon 35", and in 1932 their first BMA 98cc machines entered production.

1934 350cc "L" type engines with separate gearbox, followed by a considerable variety of 250cc and 500cc SV and OHV versions.

In 1935, Monet-Goyon began building military machines for the French army, the 350cc type "L4A" and 500cc type "L5A1" and "L5A2" models.

In 1937 rear suspension was fitted to the 350cc and 500cc "Champion de France" models.

Marcel Monet died in 1938, leaving Adrien Goyon as sole manager.

In September 1939 the war began and production concentrated on the supply of military sidecars.

In 1940 Adrien Goyon retired from his position as Managing Director of the Monet-Goyon concern. He was 82 years old.

The Post-War Years

When France was liberated the Mâcon concern was extremely well placed for a a rapid rebirth; its 4-stroke L range (250, 350 and 500cc) is quite modern, with dry sump lubrication, 4-speed gearbox and rear suspension, whilst the smaller models of 100 to 200cc remained very popular with their VILLIERS two-stroke engines, distributed under both the MONET & GOYON or KOEHLER-ESCOFFIER marques.

Furthermore, the Mâcon factory suffered no war damage and the workshops were not looted by the Nazis.

However, all was not well as the company lacked technical direction after the death of Raymond GUIGUET in 1938, and there had been little advance in the modernisation of the range over the following decade.

Marcel Morel created a new 49cc engine for Monet-Goyon, but this was rejected in favour of a 34cc Remondini design. This proved a disaster, and cost the firm dearly. Morel took his design to Motobecane and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 1950 the management was composed of largely non-motorcyclists, and by 1952 there were 14 directors who appeared to be at one-another's throats.

Meanwhile a new range of Villiers-powered machines was presented which was very well received. This consisted of the S6 range which eventually included the attractive Starlett, Pullman and Dolina models.

In 1953 Adrien Goyon died in January at the age of 93.

Several other firms were building machines powered by the Macel-built Villiers engines, and these sales helped the company survive. However, the motorcycle industry was under attack from a new source - lightweight cars - the Prinz and BMW Iso in Germany, the Fiat 600 in Italy, and in France the 2CV. For less than the price of a motorcycle and sidecar those clamouring for transportation could purchase a car, albeit a very small one.

Monet-Goyon closed its doors in 1959.

1. "In 1929 Monet-Goyon purchased the ailing Koehler-Escoffier and acquired from Clement-Bayard the French license for Sturmey Archer gearboxes..." ~ Bonhams.
"For the problem of the box, Monet-Goyon obtains by Bayard-Clement the license of the famous English Sturmey Archer boxes (but only for the boxes with hand control, not for the box with foot control)." ~

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